Pain: Embracing the Suck

“To keep from decaying, to be a winner, the athlete must accept pain–not only accept it, but look for it, live with it, learn not to fear it.” -Dr. George Sheehan

While I was out riding one day, I began to think about the phenomena that is “pain.”

I spend a lot of time throughout my days thinking about all the aches and pains that are ringing through my various body parts. Pain is such a strange thing because we seemingly chase a pain-free life while simultaneously chasing the “right” pain at the same time.

Pain lets us know we are alive.

In endurance training, I often find myself craving soreness to let me know that I am doing the right thing, that I am pushing myself to the brink where the pain I feel is right on the edge of being “good pain” versus “bad pain.” It is such a delicate balance…

As much as I am dreading marathon training (yes, I said marathon training. SURPRISE! I recently registered for the Miami Marathon on January 29, 2017), I am secretly welcoming the rebirth of the soreness and outright pain that will come with the experience.

Don’t get me wrong, the soreness and pain WILL suck and I WILL whine, but I strangely want it back in my life.

“For something to hurt that bad, and feel so good, it’s just inexplicable.” – Adam Goucher, NCAA Cross Country Division 1 Individual Champ – 1998

Recently I created a “bucket list” of endurance events that I would like to do before I die and it seems like the things I keep adding are getting crazier and crazier. Endurance athletes often use terms like “embrace the suck” or “enter the pain cave” when talking about training for or participating in endurance events. It is clear that in order to do the things on my list, I have to find a place, mentally, where I learn to love how much my body hurts and allow my mind to take control over my physical being to keep pushing even when all I want to do is lay down somewhere and rest.  I am not 100% sure why I put myself through these kinds of things, but maybe it is simply to be able to say that I can do them (or maybe I really have lost my mind in my old age).

There is no rest for the weary; I will rest when I am dead.

When I started running at the late age of 32, I never would’ve dreamed of even considering running a marathon yet, here I am coming off of week 2 of my 16 week training plan. I crave the pain of training as the reminder of how much potential I have to achieve all of my biggest and boldest dreams…

Marathon training stands to be the BIGGEST SUCK I will have embraced thus far but I am ready for the challenge. I am ready to push myself to the brink, both mentally and physically, to feel that feeling of coming across that finish line. The feeling of knowing that I am walking up to a start line which most won’t ever dream of approaching. The feeling of crossing that finish line knowing that I am one step closer to my goal of becoming an Ironman…

I willingly welcome back the exhaustion, the aches, the soreness, the burn, the pure all out pain. I welcome back the days when I can barely walk yet I get up and do it anyways. I welcome back the days where it feels like even my fingernails hurt. I welcome it all back because welcoming it all back means that I have a destination that I am moving towards. I have a new goal to aim for with its very own set of challenges and obstacles. I welcome the opportunity to rise above it all in order to achieve something bigger and better than I ever thought possible.

15 thoughts on “Pain: Embracing the Suck

  1. You got this! AND 32 is not LATE age lady. Young and spry you are. I know the ‘joy’ of pain. I have, in the last few years, selected some of the hardest rides on the west coast. At the end I spent, and sore for days, but I was smiling, and still am, knowing I did it!

    proud of you!

    Liked by 1 person

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